Do We Trust the Crowd? Effects of Crowdsourcing on Perceived Credibility of Online Health Information

Crowdsourcing websites such as Wikipedia have become go-to places for health information. To what extent do we trust such health content that is generated by other Internet users? Will it make a difference if such entries are curated by medical professionals? Does the affordance of crowdsourcing make users feel like they themselves could be contributors, and does that influence their credibility judgments? We explored these questions with a 2 (Crowdsourcing: absence vs. presence) × 2 (Professional source: absence vs. presence) × 2 (Message: sunscreen vs. milk) between-subjects experiment (N = 189). Two indirect paths for crowdsourcing effects were found. The crowd-as-source path suggests that crowdsourcing negatively affects content credibility through decreased source trustworthiness and information completeness. In contrast, the self-as-source path indicates that crowdsourcing elevates source trustworthiness via heightened interactivity and sense of control. Although the additional professional source raises perceived gatekeeping on the site, it does not have substantial influence on credibility judgments. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.



Work Title Do We Trust the Crowd? Effects of Crowdsourcing on Perceived Credibility of Online Health Information
Open Access
  1. Yan Huang
  2. S. Shyam Sundar
  1. Crowdsourcing
  2. Online health information
  3. Source credibility
  4. Perceived interactivity
  5. Sense of control
  6. Content credibility
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Health Communication
Publication Date September 23, 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited August 08, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added CrowdsourcingPaper_HealthCommRevision_Clean.docx
  • Added CrowdsourcingSupplementalFile_StimuliScreenshots.docx
  • Added Creator Yan Huang
  • Added Creator S. Shyam Sundar
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Publication Date Show Changes
    • Crowdsourcing, Online health information, Source credibility, Perceived interactivity, Sense of control, Content credibility
    Publication Date
    • 2022-01-01
    • 2020-09-23